On the (Rest of the) Net.

“The Evolution of April O’Neil.”

Both MamaMia & Melinda Tankard-Reist have run stories on footballers behaving badly, after the  New Zealand Warriors rugby team drafted Shaun Metcalf, who spent 18 months in jail for rallying a couple of his teammates to help him kick his pregnant teen girlfriend to cause her to miscarriage. Tankard-Reist writes:

“One of Metcalf’s key defenders and outspoken advocates is Celia Lashlie… [says]:

‘We can all get caught up in the emotional image of young men booting a young woman in the stomach to cause her to abort her baby, but these were two young people … she got pregnant, he was way out of his depth, and he did a really cruel and dumb thing.

‘He was caught in the moment, and what he did was the equivalent of a young man putting a noose around his neck because his girlfriend tossed him out. He has to be allowed to move forward and put his life together, and I think the ability of the NRL and the Warriors to take this young man in and help him do that is role modelling and something they should get credit for’…

“Oh no, we wouldn’t want to get caught up in an image of young footballers playing football with the pregnant womb of a 15-year old girl now would we?

“‘The equivalent of putting the noose around his neck’? No, it was the equivalent of putting a noose around her neck—and the neck of her child. Laslie paints the act as some kind of self-punishment. But he wasn’t assaulted. He wasn’t trying to protect the child he was carrying. It wasn’t he who might lose his life.”

“Glorified pimp” Kris Jenner VS. the “strong of character” Khloe Kardashian on her new reality show, Khloe & Lamar.

Katy Perry and Britney Spears celebrate a pop apocalypse in their new singles on Girl with a Satchel.

Also at GWAS, Erica Bartle writes in response to Mia Freedman’s take on the relevance and influence of magazines, and what that means for women.

This makes me even more upset that my body corporate won’t allow Foxtel installation: MamaMia has their own TV show on SkyNews, Tuesday nights at 8pm. Congrats to the MamaMia team; they really are showing that the blogosphere is the new media frontier.

How to make the real-life Barbie doll.

Is this what 43 looks like?

Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is more popular on—wait for it…—Fridays! Who knew?!

Hugo Schwyzer on perfection, “good guys” and respect in relationships:

“… Many young women conclude that happiness is something that you only get when you get to your goal weight. And even more troublingly, when it comes to relationships, lots of straight girls think that if their own bodies aren’t perfect, they have no right to expect too much from guys.”

Apparently, leading a sedentary, office-bound life can lead to heart disease and other health problems. Not good news for bloggers…!

Do Spanx make the world a better place?:

“… My world is a better place when I can fucking breathe. My world is a better place when someone is not trying to convince me that making myself into a human sausage will make the world a better place.”

Vintage STD-warning posters. Oh, the misogyny!

“The Public Health Problem No One Wants to Talk About”: Stillbirth.

“Stop Being ‘Shocked’ by ‘Isms’” of the rac- and sex- persuasions. And trans- and homophobia while we’re at it.

Sexualised violence is the new black.

The real-life The Wrestler: the tragic life-story of Chris Kanyon.

The perils of the unfinished book.

How to raise boys well.

Images via Jezebel, MamaMia.

Mag Cover of the Week: ELLE Denmark’s Photoshop Faux Pas.

This Danish ELLE cover was brought to my attention by Cover Girl Culture’s Facebook page, via Girl with a Satchel.

Check out that neck! It takes giraffe-chic to a whole new level! Tyra Banks would be proud. She’s always on about elongating the neck, right?!

[Facebook] Cover Girl Culture.

Image via The Gloss.

Event: The Royal Wedding—The Other Event of the Decade?

Today is Friday (Friday, everybody’s looking forward to the weekend…), 29th April, and you all know what that means: it’s the Royal Wedding, y’all!

Granted, I couldn’t care less, but I will be spending the evening on the couch with some books and mags, tuning in every now and then to check on the festivities (namely Kate’s Her Royal Highness Princess Catherine’s dress and to perve on Prince Harry).

(I also have a special event of my own occurring today that takes excitement precedence, and that is getting my first tattoo!)

But with an expected audience of 2 billion people, is this the event of the decade?

It hasn’t quite been ten years since September 11, so is it possible that the Royal Wedding could take the terrorist attack’s place as the most significant event in the past decade? (On that note, what about Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis?)

It’s hard to compare the two: one was one of the most horrific events in human history that changed the way we think, act and feel, the other is an exercise in royal extravagance and tabloid obsession.

2001 to 2011 will be book ended by the saddest and happiest televised moments.

How will you be spending the day?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Apocalypse Now: 2012 Come Early?

Images via Think Progress, Great Dreams.

Magazines: Who Thinks Jackie O’s Parenting Style is Beautiful?

A couple of weeks ago, Jackie O was vilified by the Minister for Families, Pru Goward, for feeding her baby Kitty whilst crossing the road, and most women everywhere jumped to her defence.

As one of Who’s “Most Beautiful People” for 2011, she explains her role as a mother:

“… I think for me the most beautiful thing is the bond you share [with your child]—I know all mothers say that, but you just can’t explain the love you feel. You honestly would die for your child without a moment’s hesitation. You put yourself second and it’s a really nice feeling to be rid of that vanity, to not be so self-obsessed. I love watching other mothers with their babies, too…”

Given the outrage Goward’s comments sparked by women in the media, it seems very timely that Who chose O as one of their finalists this year, and chose instead to focus on the wonderful things about motherhood, as opposed to the mistakes—according to Goward, at least—a new mum is bound to make.

[MamaMia] Jackie O & the Twisted Politics of Being a Bad Mother.

[Girl with a Satchel] Jackie O, Michael Clarke & the Pillorying of Pretty People.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Cultural Talking Points”: How Does Jackie O’s “Bad Parenting” Relate to Hunting?

Outfit Envy: Vanessa Hudgens Embraces Her Wild Side.

Vanessa Hudgens can do no wrong, especially in this gorgeous Blu Moon leopard print maxi, featured in Who’s “Who Got it Right?” (p. 114) this week. As guest judge Erin McNaught says,

“Her layered necklace and burnished cuff work perfectly. I wish I looked like that running errands!”

Here, here!

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Outfit Envy: Vanessa Hudgens’ Hips Don’t Lie.

Magazine Review: ZINm, Issue Six.

With issue six released a couple of weeks ago, independent zine, ZINm, by Melbournian Marc Bonnici, is really hitting its stride.

The “Teen, Pop, Gossip, Trash” issue takes a page out of Famous’s book mag, with a snarky, funny and pop-culturally heavy tone.

On the “From the Editor” page (p. 5), Bonnici ponders the first world problems of “Britney VS. Katy: product placement in their new music videos” and “what colour scarf shall I wear to go check the mail…?”

The issues features a spread of Selena Gomez’s ever-changing hairdo (p. 6), how to correctly apply make-up (p. 9), Kellan Lutz’s obsession with exercise and long sports socks (p. 10–11), a “dear Christina Aguilera/Metro trains/couples walking in the city” letter in regular feature “Burn Book” (p. 18), and a Dolly Doctor-esque sexual advice column entitled “Doctor Chorizo” (p. 21).

Melissa George, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Roberts also make appearances.

It’s a good thing this issue comes with a “may contain possibly false information” disclaimer, ’cause the truly riotous celeb scandals in this issue couldn’t possibly be true!

The newsstand glossies should take heed: goodness knows a lot of their material is based on possibly false info!

[Marc Bonnici] Homepage.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] George Michael Paper Dolls in Independent Zine ZINm.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Independent Zine ZINm Preview.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] First World Problems.

Movie Review: Sucker Punch.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

This is what the main character’s, Babydoll, David Carradine-esque wise fairy godfather tells her midway through her pointless journey to find a map, a knife, fire, a key and… something else (which *spoiler alert* is when Babydoll realises the story is not about her, but Abbie Cornish’s Sweat Pea, and sacrifices herself to what is alluded to as gang rape in order for Sweat Pea to escape. On a side note, WTF is Cornish doing in this movie? She’s, like, a serious actress and stuff.).

Well Sucker Punch didn’t stand for anything (if you exclude the exercise in how bad movies are made, and the kinder-whore schoolgirl images in director Zack Snyder’s spank bank, which I have), and fell for every gratuitous slow-mo’ up-skirt shot in the book.

The film commences with an attempted rape scene, a trademark of Snyder’s. (Pop culture website The Vine suggests that Carla Gugino, who plays Polish psychiatrist/burlesque madame in Sucker Punch and the Silk Spectre in Watchmen, look into “an AVO against Snyder, given she has appeared in two of his films and her characters sexually assaulted in both”.) Babydoll is framed for the murders of her mother and sister, and is dragged away to an insane asylum in “skin-coloured, rain soaked PJs”.

There her father requests a lobotomy, which will go ahead in a few days. During that time, Babydoll escapes to the Inception-like double dreamland in her mind, where the asylum and its exclusively female inhabitants morphs into a burlesque club.

The only way she can—again—escape this fantasy land (if it’s Zac Snyder’s your fantasy, why would you want to escape it?) and entrance her subjects is by dancing, which then turns to a post-apocalyptic “ancient Japan (or maybe China; all look [the] same, right?)” where Babydoll and her insane/burlesque/warrior troupe meet the wise man espousing useless proverbs at every turn as they accumulate the four items they need.

Sucker Punch actually has potential; if not for the excessive violence, hideous sexualisation and the non-plotline, it could have been good.

The story eventually returns to the real life of the asylum when the lobotomist/High Roller (an out of place Jon Hamm) “comes for” Babydoll, which is the most interesting five minutes of the film.

The Vine says, “We don’t really give a shit about any of our heroines [three of which *spoiler alert* are murdered], because neither does the film: they have no inner-life, no story beyond ‘they are sex slaves in foxy pin-up outfits’.” I found myself daydreaming about an alternative mask I could wear to a masquerade party a few nights later; to me that was more interesting than sitting through the pointlessness.

Give me a pen and a copy of the script and I think even I could do the remnants of an okay storyline and Abbie Cornish justice. I will now be boycotting all future Snyder efforts. No emphasis on “effort”.

[Jezebel] Why Sucker Punch Really, Truly Sucks.

[io9] Sucker Punch Goes Beyond Awful, to Become Commentary on the Death of Moviemaking.

[The Vine] Sucker Punch Movie Review.

Images via The Vine.

On the Net: Disney Princesses—Damsels in Distress?

From “Cinderella Fights Back” by Kate Forsyth on MamaMia:

“The original Little Red Riding Hood, for example, was a peasant girl who escapes the wolf due entirely to her own cleverness. It was Charles Perrault who gave her a red cap—symbolic of passion and blood—and made the tale a cautionary one in which the heroine is gobbled up by the wolf. It was the Grimm Brothers who brought in a male hunter to save her, making her seem like a twit.

“The original Rapunzel—named ‘Persinette’ in a 1696 tale by French writer Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force—was the daughter of poor people, so hungry they steal a handful of parsley from a witch. They are forced to give up their child or face the death penalty. Locked away in solitary confinement in a tower, Persinette sings so beautifully she causes the prince to fall in love with her. Persinette has sex with him, plots with him to escape and, in the end, gives birth to twins, saves the prince with her healing tears, and persuades the witch to relent. The Grimm Brothers’ retelling made her into such a meek little idiot that the psychological term ‘Rapunzel syndrome’ was coined to describe a woman who waits passively to be rescued.

“Fairy tales work because they speak in metaphor, archetype, and symbol. They contain within them all of our deepest fears and deepest desires. Don’t deny your children the thrill and danger and power of a good fairy tale; just pick the right ones to tell them. One in which the heroine is brave, bright, kind, resourceful, and saves both herself and others.”

[MamaMia] Cinderella Fights Back.

TV: Paper Giants–The Birth of Cleo Review.

Asher Keddie has never been my favourite actress. So I wasn’t particularly looking forward to her portrayal of magazine mogul Ita Buttrose in ABC’s Paper Giants.

However, after watching both episodes online on Good Friday, I’m now a Keddie convert.

If you’ve read any of the myriad of positive reviews of the miniseries, you’ll know that Keddie gets the Ita lisp down perfectly.

But Keddie gives off a different air to Ita (granted, I’m only really familiar with The Morning Show and etiquette Ita, not the golden age of magazines Ita), though, and really makes the role her own.

Film-wise, the imagery embodies the ’70s perfectly (’cause I was alive then and all!) and harkens back to simpler times, when the printers baulked at having to change their formatting to accommodate the patented Cleo sealed section, saying it couldn’t be done!

Though the role of women was going through an upheaval at the time, and Cleo paved the way for women of that generation.

I found it funny and quite poignant that women like Ita and her assistant Leslie, played by Jessica Tovey, were working to change the status of women through their magazine, while privately their lives were in shambles: Leslie tries to take on the role of sexually empowered woman, experimenting with role play, fantasy and sex toys, but still stays with her unenlightened fiancé Muz, while maintaining an affair with a senior co-worker, who refuses to leave his wife for her. And before Ita’s husband, Mac, leaves her raising one child and pregnant with another, the film juxtaposes Ita arriving home from a long day at the office that included being rebuffed for a loan without the permission of her husband with asking Mac if he’d like onions with his steak, which she immediately begins making.

At this juncture, the Cleo girls raise the notion of Superwoman, and if she actually exists; a debate modern feminists are still grappling with.

My favourite parts of the miniseries, apart from Keddie as Ita, and Rob Carlton as Kerry Packer, was its ability to poke fun at the present day, such as a dig at Time Out magazine, and how it will “never take off” and a Cleo girl asking, “Who’s Paul Keating?”

Paper Giants is still re-running on ABC (check your local guide), available to watch online for another four days, and is available for pre-order on DVD from the ABC Shop.

[ABC] Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo Video.

[ABC Shop] Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There): 17th–26th April, 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Cultural Talking Points”: How Does Jackie O’s “Bad Parenting” Relate to Hunting?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Has Feminism Failed?

Images via Facebook, ABC.

On the Net: The Problem with Glee.

From Jezebel’s Comment of the Day “The Troubling Dichotomy That is Glee by A Small Turnip/Margaret Hartmann:

Glee is the ultimate pop-cultural hate-fuck for me. It gets so much right, champions the unloved and unlovely, produces some genuinely sublime, can’t-stop-smiling coups de theatre, and is, when all’s said and done, one of the most heart-felt, funny and truly progressive shows on television today. Or ever.

“But FUCK ME if it isn’t also skull-poundingly awful, misogynistic, bi-phobic, atrociously plotted, bloated with its own sense of moral superiority and forever teetering on the edge of eye-clawing insanity. It drives me berzerk that I cannot stop watching it, even as I’m throwing things at the television and screaming ‘What the fuck do you mean “I’m relatively sane, for a girl”?! You’re just fucking with me now, aren’t you Murphy?’

“RM and Glee‘s Powers-That-Be have so far to go to make the show into a consistent, cohesive whole, but they keep falling back into dropped plots and contemptibly lazy characterisation. I keep waiting and waiting for them to pull it together, even for a single episode, and it never quite happens.

“And yet. And yet. I love it. I do. It’s so frustrating to hear Ryan Murphy’s hacky bloviations on his own self-importance, and his overweening sense of creative pomposity…Every time I think I’m out, they just keep pulling me back in. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lie down and think about Darren Criss’s dreamy, dreamy eyes for a little while.”

[Jezebel] Comment of the Day: The Troubling Dichotomy That is Glee.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Original Song” Episode.

Images via BoobTube, YouTube, Megavideo.